In it, Ms Martis, a “mixed-race girl” generally classified as black but residing in a “predominantly white city,” laments that “nothing comes without a race.”
Specifically, when meeting white men (i.e., the most plentiful variety available at her geographic location), she found that her ethnic otherness, as it were, invariably tended to be “at the forefront” of these encounters—not in the sense of racial animosity being directed against her, but, quite on the contrary, in the sense that white men either seemed disproportionately intrigued by her exotic features at the expense of all other qualities she would bring to the table (or the bed, for that matter), or they would resort to peculiar pickup lines like “I love black people; I have black friends, you know” as if attempting to impress her by preëmptively pointing out, in the most obliquely condescending manner they could effect, that her being black was not a problem in their book.
Soon, Ms Martis began to feel that
I was being objectified, exoticized and sexualized for being one of few coloured girls in a sea of white men. I felt alone. And more importantly, I felt disgusted with myself.
Consequently, just as the romantically disenchanted ukulelist Sugar Kowalczyk had sworn off dating saxophone players following a string of rude awakenings with (or rather without) men of that profession (“Then one morning you wake up, the guy is gone, the saxophone’s gone, all that’s left behind is a pair of old socks and a tube of toothpaste, all squeezed out”), Ms Martis decided to collectively eliminate white men from her sexual diet.
Because, on its face, her impassioned essay explaining her resolution—the catchy headline in particular—reads like racial stereotyping on steroids, she has drawn some flak for her conclusions, whereupon she tapped out out a follow-up piece titled The Reason I Wrote “Why I Don’t Sleep With White Guys,” which runs roughly twice the length of the piece the rationale behind which it aims to illuminate. (I once owned a Qur’an whose footnotes, explaining why a lot of the verses didn’t mean what they appeared to mean, occupied the better part of the tome.)
In a nutshell, far from “overgeneraliz[ing] all white men a certain way,” Ms Martis claims that “publication happened so fast that I didn’t have time to revise,” then proceeds to clarify for the incensed albeit inattentive reader of her offending earlier screed that, revised or not, she had merely recounted her own personal experience, other folks’ mileage may vary, and that she has a perfect right to be as subjective as she chooses and to induce away—that is, to reason from the part to the whole, or, more precisely, from the known to the unknown—to her heart’s content; the Popperian dictum of working up a sweat trying to disprove one’s own theories ad nauseam may apply in the science lab but not in the Toronto bar scene; a sufficiently large sample of palefaces had their shot, and they blew it; tough luck for the unexamined rest of them. (My loose interpretation of what she wrote, not her words per se.)
According to Ms Martis, shortly after she had written “Why I Don’t Sleep With White Guys” for a friend’s website, a content scout for the Huffington Post stumbled upon it and asked for her permission to upload it to their Canadian lifestyle section, where it subsequently received a degree of exposure not anticipated by its author at the time of composition.
Naturally, this conjures the hypothetical of whether the HuPo would have been equally eager to publish a piece titled “Why I Don’t Sleep With Black Guys,” authored by a disillusioned white female seeking carnal gratification in Detroit. (Unless, of course, that piece were written by a card-carrying Republican and could be flashed as yet another example of white conservative racism.)
Some time ago, white porn star Alexis Texas raised some eyebrows by announcing she didn’t “do” black dudes, at least not on camera, which prompted one of Ms Texas’ self-described supporters, a black male who works at TMZ, to comment that he felt “weird” about the situation: “I feel like I’m supporting someone who’s engaging in, like, racist practices.”
Would that guy likewise feel that Ms Martis engages in “racist practices” because she doesn’t do white guys, period, not even off camera?
On balance, it appears that members of historically discriminated-against minorities are granted a bit more latitude when it comes to articulating ideas that would be deemed covertly or overtly (opinions differ on which is worse) racist were those same ideas uttered in reverse by a white individual. (Up to a certain line, that’s understandable and not overly worrisome, although defining that line can be tricky.)
Thus I became curious how would it go over if, in the spirit of “Why I Don’t Sleep With White Guys,” some white guy came along and published a companion piece titled “Why I Don’t Sleep With Black Girls.”
Since googling that headline (as well as a few variations thereof, substituting “black women” or “black chicks” or “sistas”) yielded no results, I decided to write such a piece myself, and now I’ll just wait and see whether the Huffington Post will come knocking on my virtual door, asking permission to upload it to their site. (For the record, I am mindful that this is unlikely to happen for a number of reasons unrelated to potential editorial bias on the part of The Huffington Post. And I don’t expect this piece to end up on the Fox Nation blog, either.)
So why don’t I sleep with black girls?
By the way, I say “girls” simply because it sounds more of an analogue to “guys” than does “women.” Unfortunately, the word “guys” lacks a female counterpart. Boys and girls. Men and women. Males and females. Guys and … what? Lasses? Dames? Dolls?
Anyhow, it’s not that I don’t sleep with black girls as in I refuse to. I’ve never made a conscious decision to that effect. I don’t sleep with black girls solely in the sense that it just hasn’t happened so far. I suppose it is technically accurate to say that “I don’t sleep with black girls,” even though, read a certain way, the wording might suggest premeditation and reference to future behavior, neither of which applies here. For all I know, or care, my next ex could be a full-blooded Hutu from Bujumbura.
So, given my professed indifference regarding ethnicity in my bedroom, how come, with the notable exceptions of one U.S.-born half-Filipino and one moderately exotic-looking Arabian lady, my amorous track record features about as much racial diversity as a Tea Party rally in Alabama?
For starters, and I may well have to consult a psychiatrist on this, I apparently lack the urge to “transcend my whiteness” through engaging in carnal knowledge with women of color. In the opening paragraphs of her essay, Ms Martis cites a theory she claims to find “overwhelmingly comforting.” This theory, put forth by African-American author and feminist bell hooks [sic], states that white men are attracted to colored women because the colored woman’s body stereotypically represents an array of qualities that white women’s bodies are deficient in, namely “deviance, darkness, temptation, evil, and hypersexuality,” which, taken together, make for a “detrimental image” that generates a desire in the white man to “colonize” her body and somehow use the experience to get to know himself:
Through fucking a coloured woman, the white man transcends his ‘whiteness’ and innocence, moving into more experienced and dangerous territory. Literally through her body, he learns what he is and what he is not. He gains access to cross the border into a dark territory that only he, of all his friends, has yet to venture to. But after ‘consuming’ her multiple times, he becomes sick and repulsed, as with any overconsumption of food, and spits her out.
Some of why I’ve never crossed the border into this dark territory, where I would have had the opportunity to find out what I am and what I am not, may have to do with the fact that a little more than half of my life to date, including my teenage years, I spent in a small town in Austria where there were (and still are) exactly as many blacks as there are pink unicorns. I vaguely remember two Korean girls in my high school, but that’s as racially diverse as it ever got in my so-called hometown. (I’ve heard tell of an Nigerian chaplain at the local church; however, not being much of a church goer, I never actually saw the man before he got transferred to a different parish.)
That said, I did spend the majority of my adult years in New York City, where blacks outnumber pink unicorns by approximately two million, which means the unavailability excuse itself has become unavailable for justifying the dazzling whiteness that continued to pervade my love life in the Apple.
What seems to be the problem then?
Hard to say.
One thing that comes to mind right off the bat is the relative dearth of black girls versus white ones—they don’t call ‘em “minorities” for nothing—even in New York City, at least in those areas where I did most of my hanging. Fewer encounters, of course, translate into a reduced likelihood of any of these encounters turning horizontal.
In addition, it has been my impression that there exists an elevated sense of group cohesion among members of minorities with a shared history of discrimination that renders them less inclined to hooking up with outsiders, or to quit whites based on considerations along the lines of those put forth by Ms Martis.
What I can say for sure is that when I worked as a waiter in NYC, over the years I received quite a few napkins (or matchbooks or the like) on which female customers had scribbled their phone numbers. (I got a bunch of male ones, too, but those went straight—no pun intended—into the trash, no offense, whereas the female ones I generally held on to.)
Although invariably tilted toward the white end of the spectrum, the clientele used to be mixed wherever I worked, yet virtually all the female numbers I got came from white women. I don’t recall ever receiving a black female number.
Granted, women prone to slipping waiters their phone numbers may not constitute a truly representative sample of the female population overall, but assuming there is ever so modest a speck of relevance to this, one could tentatively infer that, for whatever reason, black women, on average, simply find me less attractive than white women find me, or are less given to flagging their interest should it exist.
And since I’m not exactly the aggressive pursuer type that gets the more determined the colder the shoulder he is given, unless I detect some sort of signal I can reasonably interpret as permission to approach, I am likely to keep my distance no matter how cute I may think she is (black, white, or whatever).
Perhaps all of this partially explains the romantic radio silence that has traditionally obtained between myself and black females.
Now you could argue it might very well be the other way around: that I’m less attracted to black women than I am to whites, that I exude a vibe that communicates as much, that black women pick up on it, and that hence they project indifference in return, which I then read as a sign to stay away.
And there may be some truth to this.
In fact, touching on race as it relates to my romantic preferences, two years ago I quite bluntly admitted as much in a previous post, where I wrote the following in the context of discussing the importance of judging on a case-by-case basis rather than putting too much stock in statistical averages and percentages, which are utterly meaningless when it comes to evaluating the individual case before us:
And yes, frankly, a greater percentage of white and Asian women than black and Middle-Eastern ones strike me as attractive. At the same time, I’ve seen plenty of black women that I found just as alluring as the most attractive non-black women I’ve ever seen. So even though, in general, I gravitate toward white over black (at least I think I do — I’m having difficulty arriving at accurate percentages as opposed to absolute numbers, for the total population of white women I’ve encountered in my life is so much larger than that of other ethnicities), if you ask me whether I’d rather date your black friend or your white one, until you show me the individual women in question, I won’t know how to answer that. The one with the lower testosterone levels, I guess. In terms of probability, that may be the white one. In practice, it could be either.
My anecdotal preference for white girls notwithstanding, I do find this Rihanna chick, for instance, as physically appealing as they come, and, should I ever find myself in the rather unlikely circumstance of having to make that particular decision, I most certainly wouldn’t toss her off my pallet. Not despite her being back, I insist, nor because of it, but because a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman—white, black, red, amber, or periwinkle.
To which you might respond that individuals like Rihanna and Beyoncë are grossly non-representative examples of black women, as the public never gets to see them before their stylists have spent hours “europeanizing” their appearance, i.e., that I wouldn’t find them attractive the way they really looked sans makeup, nose jobs, and hair-straightening; and moreover, just because one adores a few exceptionally striking members of a particular ethnic group doesn’t mean one harbors no discriminatory sentiments against that group at large.
To which I would rejoin that a) even among white girls, I’m sexually drawn to an exceptionally gorgeous minority only (a character flaw of mine, perhaps, but at least one that cuts across racial lines), and b) mixed-race girls like Ms Martis are genetically europeanized already, yet they count as “black girls” just the same. (The exact demarcation between “black” and “white” in racially mixed individuals is a discussion for another day. I once asked a co-worker whether she was black or white, as I couldn’t really tell, which points to the relative meaninglessness of the distinction. “Why, black, of course!” she exclaimed in a tone of voice as if I’d ask her whether she was a human being or a trilobite. The good old one-drop-rule, alas, seems alive and well.)
Be that as it may, for all practical purposes—whether the underlying reasons are benign or subliminally invidious in nature, and whether those reasons rest primarily with me or with them—the fact remains that I don’t sleep with black girls.
But then again, for the longest time I didn’t sleep with Middle Eastern girls, either.
Until I did.
It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.
And now I guess I’d better commence work on the explanatory sequel called “The Reason I Wrote ‘Why I Don’t Sleep With Black Girls.’”
Just in case.